In Which I Make Myself Uncomfortable So That I Can One Day Be Comfortable

I think we are all far too familiar with the feeling of eyes piercing through our clothes. People probably aren’t looking at us nearly as intently as we think, but that doesn’t change the way it feels to think every flaw is on display. The stretch marks on my stomach are obvious. Even if I’m wearing a black shirt, surely they have to be thinking, “She’s so fat.. She has stretch marks.” and I’m done for.

I remember feeling something similar every single first day of school. Every class presentation. Every time I walked into a professor’s office. Every job interview. They can see right through me. Nothing is a secret now. But I kept getting praised on my confidence, I kept hearing how mature I was and how well I handled myself. But if they knew what was going on in my head they surely would have known better.

I’ve been working from home for 2 years now. I’m well liked and respected and I never see people outside of my family. I’ve been able to hide my evident anxiety while working from bed. I lie to myself and say, “But look at all these conversations I’m having with people! I don’t have social anxiety. I’m just an anxious person in general.” But put me in a room of strangers and watch me hyperventilate — truly it is my one and only party trick.

That’s why I’ve decided to challenge myself on this for once. I don’t want to be this way. This post is my acknowledgement of my severe issue with getting to know people consistently. I have, in the past, treated meeting new people like a job interview in which I tick off boxes in my head of what they are and are not. It’s never been an enjoyable experience, and my theory is that if I’ll just commit to relaxing, letting loose, and consistently getting out to meet people, that I will do better and feel better and maybe even make a friend or two.

I’ve heard it said that life is waiting outside your comfort zone, so I’m going to put myself there for the next few months, going to at least two meetups a week. I’ll write about my experiences here. I hope that you’ll tag along so we can all get better together and beat the shit out of anxiety.